Yesterday on the TODAY Show, a group of 12 teenage girls from New York discussed the sudden, bizarre onset of a Tourette’s-esque disorder that’s resulted, for no clear reason, in all of them displaying tics, twitches, and uncontrollable outbursts. And while the epidemic itself sounds strange and interesting (there’s a RadioLab about a similar outbreak), it’s the clinical diagnosis by a doctor on the show that made me pause–mass hysteria. Really? With it’s gendered, pejorative, and non-scientific roots, that’s still a word that’s being used medically? More
Topic: female hysteria
Female hysteria used to be considered a medical disorder. It also used to rationalize treating women like a lower, less intelligent race. Thank God that’s over, right? We may not get a diagnosis anymore, but we’re not sure the perception of women has necessarily taken such great strides. Just take a look at movies and TV shows: We’re still bawling, melting down, and burdening others with hysterical outbursts. Hardly empowering.
Don Draper’s outburst on last week’s episode of Mad Men got lots of attention: One teary scene led to an entire Internet meme, complete with a a new blog: Sad Don Draper. Everyone stopped in their tracks at the hilarity of a grown man crying on television, but the women sobbing in our gallery (and countless TV shows and movies) hardly get a wink. More